EcoPower To The People: The 2016 Kia Optima LX Turbo

Front 3/4 view of 2016 Kia Optima Turbo
The 2016 Kia Optima Turbo.
Those of you with practical budgets yet enthusiast hearts may have had your pulses race a bit to learn that Kia is now making its base LX Optima available with a turbocharged engine.  Well, it's not exactly what you think.

Rear 3/4 view of 2016 Kia Optima Turbo
2016 Kia Optima Turbo.
No, my friends, the turbo in the LX is not the same as the 2-liter, 245 horsepower turbo found in the top-of-the-line SX and SX Limited.  In fact, it puts out less power than the 2.4-liter normally aspirated four found in the base LX.  That engine is good for 185 horsepower.  The turbo in the LX is a 1.6-liter rated at 178 horsepower.  So what's the point?  Efficiency.

The loss of seven horsepower simply isn't noticeable,  In fact, the turbo gives you added oomph when you want or need it most (such as in passing maneuvers). But, paired with a new seven-speed dual clutch transmission, the LX Turbo improves on the base LX's already impressive fuel economy...boosting an EPA-estimated 25 city/37 highway to 28 city/39 highway.

Interior view of 2016 Kia Optima Turbo
2016 Kia Optima Turbo interior.
There's a $2,000 boost in the base price when you go from Optima LX to Optima LX turbo, but it's not the engine and transmission alone.  Stepping up to the LX Turbo makes smart welcome, smart trunk and pushbutton start standard equipment, as well.

Our tester had one option....the LX Technology Package (dual-zone climate control, a navigation system with an 8-inch display, power adjustable driver's seat with lumbar support, memory seats and mirrors, center console USB chargers, blind spot detection, rear cross-traffic alert, rear parking assist, auto-dimming rearview mirror and LED taillights) for $2,600.  Add that and $825 inland freight and handling to the $23,990 base price and the bottom line is $27,415.

At its core, horsepower differences aside, the LX Turbo has all the goodness we liked so much in the top-of-the-line SX Limited we reviewed earlier this year, with better fuel economy and an as-tested price $9,500 lower.  Pair that with Kia's world-beating 10 year/100,000 mile warranty and the Optima LX Turbo becomes a very compelling value.